Tiree surfer Ben Larg prepares for Nazaré's big wave season


Ben LargImage source, Markus Berger/Red Bull Content Pool

Image caption,

Ben Larg, from Tiree, was first taken out on a surf board when he was a toddler

At a glance

  • A teenager from Tiree is preparing for the latest big wave surf season at Nazaré

  • Ben Larg has carved out a career surfing monster waves

  • Nazaré in Portugal is where some of the world’s biggest are encountered each winter

  • Ben, 18, will head for the Caithness coast for training before the start of the new season

Steven McKenzie


Reporting from

Highlands & Islands

When Ben Larg was 16 he became one of the youngest people to surf some of the world’s biggest waves that rise each winter off Nazaré on Portugal’s west coast.

Now 18, he is preparing to return there next month for the start of surfing’s latest big wave season.

“This year I’m going to be thrown in at the deep end,” says the teenager from the Isle of Tiree.

“Last year I had a good season up until November when I had an injury, a burst eardrum.”

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Nazaré’s huge waves attract surfers and spectators

He adds: “I’ve been recovering for about nine months and just had my final operation.”

Ben has continued to train hard during his recovery – including several weeks in landlocked Austria.

A Red Bull athlete, he has been working on his fitness at the brand’s performance centre in Thalgau.

“I’ve been focusing on building up my leg and core strengths,” Ben says.

“When you are going down one of those waves at Nazaré the waves are so bumpy.

“By the end of it your legs are shaking you are that tired.”

Image source, Ride the Wave

Image caption,

Ben’s interest in surfing started at a young age

Image source, Ride the Wave

Image caption,

Ben surfing in the documentary Ride the Wave

Ben’s preparations will also take him to Thurso on the north Caithness coast in coming weeks.

He says: “I love surfing at home, as much as it’s freezing cold it is great surfing up on the north coast of Scotland. Thurso has amazing waves.”

The teenager’s passion for surfing started on Scotland’s west coast.

He was two years old when his dad and uncle took him out on a surf board in the sea at Tiree.

When he was 14 he become the youngest person to surf the 9m (30ft) waves that crash into the coast at Mallaghmore in south west Ireland.

Ben later went on to ride another monster of between 18m (60ft) and 21m (70ft) off Nazaré.

His early adventures were documented for the 2021 documentary Ride the Wave.

Image source, Markus Berger/Red Bull Content Pool

Image caption,

Ben has been training in Austria ahead of the new big wave season in Portugal

Ben says: “My goal this winter is really to stand out.

“I wasn’t in the water much last winter and being one of the youngest surfers there I’ve got a wee bit of pressure to do well.”

Once out in the water off Nazaré, Ben will be among surfers from all over the world hoping to show off their skills on huge waves.

“It’s really only riding each wave for nine seconds max,” he says.

“It is a crazy feeling when you are on one of those waves, but it’s the best nine seconds of my life for sure.”

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